UAE female leaders are increasingly digitally-savvy and confident about the growth prospects of their company: KPMG report

The study - part of a global survey - found that 76% of UAE female leaders were confident about the growth expectations for their company


Dubai: The UAE’s female leaders possess strong entrepreneurial vision, are realistic about growth expectations, and believe they are equipped with the necessary skills to drive digital transformation in their organizations, the first KPMG UAE Female Leaders Outlook, has revealed.

The study - part of a global survey - found that 76 percent of UAE female leaders were confident about the growth expectations for their company, while just a third (35 percent) were confident in the growth prospects of the global economy. This compares with the (predominantly male) chief executives interviewed in the 2018 KPMG Global CEO Outlook, 90 percent of whom were confident of their company’s growth prospects, while 67 percent were confident in the growth prospects of the global economy.

Furthermore, three-quarters (75 percent) of UAE female leaders expected an overall growth in headcount over the next three years, while only a quarter (25 percent) said they expected a shrinking or steady employee base. This result supports the opinion shared by the survey’s global female leaders: that artificial intelligence (AI) implementation will create more jobs than it eliminates

Clare McColl, Partner and Head of Indirect Tax at KPMG Lower Gulf, said: “Our first ever UAE Female Leaders Outlook survey offers compelling insights into how women in leadership positions view the competitive business landscape today. Our research shows that female leaders generally have a very realistic outlook to achieve sustained growth. Female leaders refer to the data and information available to assist in making tough decisions at the senior level – relating to technological disruption, managing resources or maximizing operational efficiencies.”

In terms of the benefits AI will bring to organizations over the next three years, UAE female leaders came across as pragmatic: 18 percent believe that new technology will reduce operational costs while 13 percent think it will help improve data analysis capabilities. Only 14 percent indicated their organization has no plans to implement AI over this period.

Almost all female leaders in the UAE believe they are in their jobs on merit, through networking, strong communication skills and/or a thorough knowledge of new technologies. Only three percent ranked female leadership quotas as a crucial factor for their personal success, and when asked if women’s enablement programs are a good method of bringing more women into the business world, 79 percent backed such initiatives compared to 83 percent globally.

“Looking ahead, I feel that female leaders in the UAE are receptive to technological challenges and have a clear understanding of their strategic direction. They are confident about growth and based on their positivity and flexibility, I believe that they will achieve their goals,” McColl concluded.

The survey drew responses from almost 700 global female leaders around the world, including the UAE, all of whom shared their candid views on the evolving role of women in leadership.


About KPMG International

KPMG is a global network of professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 154 countries and territories and have 200,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. Some or all of the services described herein may not be permissible for KPMG audit clients and their affiliates.

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